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Memories of the Slave Trade : Ritual and Historical Imagination in Sierra Leone - Rosalind Shaw

Memories of the Slave Trade

Ritual and Historical Imagination in Sierra Leone

Paperback Published: 1st January 2002
ISBN: 9780226751320
Number Of Pages: 304

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How is the slave trade remembered in West Africa? In a work that challenges recurring claims that Africans felt (and still feel) no sense of moral responsibility concerning the sale of slaves, Rosalind Shaw traces memories of the slave trade in Temne-speaking communities in Sierra Leone. While the slave-trading past is rarely remembered in explicit verbal accounts, it is often made vividly present in such forms as rogue spirits, ritual specialists' visions, and the imagery of divination techniques.
Drawing on extensive fieldwork and archival research, Shaw argues that memories of the slave trade have shaped (and been reshaped by) experiences of colonialism, postcolonialism, and the country's ten-year rebel war. Thus money and commodities, for instance, are often linked to an invisible city of witches whose affluence was built on the theft of human lives. These ritual and visionary memories make hitherto invisible realities manifest, forming a prism through which past and present mutually configure each other.

Industry Reviews

"[This] is an extraordinary combination of ethnography and history that promises to reshape our understanding of West African cultures and the ways in which their insertion into history has affected such quotidian matters as gender and ideas about the person. Shaw provides an elegant analysis that shows how aspects of culture, such as ideas about secrecy and local concepts of agency, were fashioned under historical circumstances that are both transmitted and rethought in the present." - Ivan Karp, Emory University

List of Illustrations
Note on Temne
The Atlanticizing of Sierra Leone
Spirit Memoryscape
Roads to Life, Roads to Death Materializing Memory through Divination
Diviners' Knowledge, Diviners' Lives
A Thing under the Water
The Hidden Ritual Process
The Production of Witchcraft/Witchcraft as Production
Cannibal Transformations Experiencing Colonialism in the Sierra Leone Hinterland
The Politician and the Diviner Conclusion: Remembering Modernity
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226751320
ISBN-10: 0226751325
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st January 2002
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.4 x 12.5  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.47